Xmas Safeguarding Nhg

20 Dec 2023

Staying safe and seeking support this Christmas

As we approach festive season, the message that Christmas is the "happiest time of the year" is all around us. But beyond the glittering lights and festive cheer lies a darker reality for many peoplea and families. It is essential to bring attention to the less glamorous aspects of the festivities, where issues like domestic abuse, child abuse, and the haunting spectre of suicide take centre stage.

While many anticipate joyous family gatherings and festive celebrations, others confront the harsh reality of increased vulnerability during the holiday season. The pressures associated with crafting a picture-perfect Christmas can intensify existing challenges, pushing some individuals to the brink.

Domestic abuse

Tragically, incidents of domestic abuse tend to spike during the holiday season. The stressors of financial strain, heightened expectations, and increased alcohol consumption can contribute to volatile situations within households. As festivities amplify, so does the risk for those experiencing abuse behind closed doors.

Child abuse

For some children and young people, the holidays may not be the idyllic time portrayed in commercials and movies. The strains on families, coupled with the challenges of disrupted routines, can lead to an uptick in child abuse cases. The vulnerability of young ones is particularly pronounced during this time.


Christmas can be an exceptionally challenging period for individuals grappling with mental health issues. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, or financial stress can intensify during the holidays, contributing to an alarming rise in suicide rates. It is crucial to recognise the signs of distress and offer support/signposts to those in need.

Raising awareness

To create a safer and more supportive festive environment, it is essential to raise awareness about the hidden struggles faced by many during Christmas. Recognising the signs of domestic abuse, understanding the impact on children, and fostering an open dialogue about mental health are critical steps toward breaking the silence.

This Christmas, we can contribute to the well-being of those facing adversity during the holidays. A simple act of kindness, a listening ear and acting on concerns promptly can make a significant difference in someone's life.

As we immerse ourselves in the festive spirit, let's not forget those who navigate the shadows of Christmas. By acknowledging the challenges faced by many and actively working to support change, we can contribute to creating a festive season that is truly joyous for everyone.


Please find below a list of services that will be operating throughout the festive season, who you can contact if you need them. Also, remember that every borough’s adult and child safeguarding teams will be working and, if you have an emergency, make sure you call 999.

0808 800 5000
Help for young people to prevent abuse, rebuild children's lives and support families

Age UK (England)
0800 678 1602 
Information and support for older people. Age UK’s English helpline is open 8am to 7pm, every day of the year.

0808 801 0677 (England)
Offers information and advice on eating disorders and runs a supportive online community. Also provides a directory of support services at Help Finder.

Beat's helplines are open 365 days a year from 1pm to 9pm during the week, and 5pm to 9pm on weekends and bank holidays. Beat's answers to five questions you may have about Christmas with an eating disorder.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
0800 58 58 58
Provides listening services, information and support for anyone who needs to talk, including a web chat.

CALM's helpline and webchat are open from 5pm to midnight, every day of the year. CALM’s advice on coping with feeling anxious at Christmas.

Combat Stress
0800 1381 619
Treatment and support for armed forces veterans who have mental health problems. Combat Stress’s helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Combat Stress’s tips on coping with Christmas.

The Compassionate Friends
0345 123 2304
Provides support to bereaved families after the death of a child. The Compassionate Friends helpline is open from 10am to 4pm, and 7pm to 10pm, every day of the year. The Compassionate Friends' tips for coping with Christmas.

Cruse Bereavement Support
0808 808 1677
Information and support after a bereavement. The Cruse helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9:30am. The closing time varies per day, from 5pm to 8pm. You can check Cruse's helplines page for more information about their opening hours. Cruse's information on coping with grief at Christmas.

LGBT Foundation
0345 3 30 30 30
Advice, support and information for people identifying as LGBTQ+. The LGBT Foundation helpline is open on weekdays 9am to 9pm and weekends 10am to 5:30pm.

Men's Advice Line
0808 801 0327
Confidential advice and support for men who have experienced domestic violence and abuse by a current or ex-partner or family member. The Men's Advice Line is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm.

0800 138 7777 (English) or 18001 0800 915 4622 (text relay), moneyhelper.org.uk
Provides free and impartial money advice. The MoneyHelper helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. The helpline is closed on bank holidays. Money Helper's information on money, saving and Christmas.

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)
0808 801 0331
Supports adult survivors of any form of childhood abuse. Offers a helpline, email support and local services. The NAPAC helpline is open 10am to 9pm, Monday to Thursday. And 10am to 6pm on Fridays. NAPAC's advice on surviving Christmas as a survivor.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 2000 247
Free 24-hour helpline for women who have experienced domestic abuse and violence, with all female advisors. Also offers a live chat and can help to find refuge accommodation. Run by the domestic violence charity Refuge.

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They also have a BSL helpline available Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm. And a live webchat open Monday to Friday, 3pm to 10pm.

Provides help and support with relationships, including counselling and telephone support. Relate's information on relationships and Christmas.

116 123 (freephone)

Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. You can visit some Samaritans branches in person. Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).

Samaritans' helplines are open every day of the year. Samaritans' Christmas coping information.

85258 (text SHOUT)
Confidential 24/7 text service offering support if you're in crisis and need immediate help. Shout are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Shout's tips on feeling less alone over the festive season.

The Silver Line
0800 4 70 80 90
Provides support, information, friendship and advice for anyone aged over 55 who may feel lonely or isolated. The Silver Line is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Stand Alone
Charity supporting adults who are estranged (not in contact) from their family. Stand Alone's festive guide to the Christmas period.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)
Emotional and practical support and local groups for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide.

0800 0119 100
Listening services, information and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Switchboard’s helpline is open 10am to 10pm, every day of the year.

Information and support for people affected by stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth. Tommy's advice on coping with Christmas when you've suffered the loss of a baby.

The Trussell Trust
0808 208 2138 (Help through Hardship helpline)
Emergency food and support for people in need. Includes a searchable list of local foodbanks. The Help through Hardship line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. The helpline is closed on public holidays.